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Jun 26, 2008 09:08 AM

BYOB places?

Are there any BYOB places in Boston? The only one I know of is Tsunami out in Coolidge.

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  1. IIRC BYOB is illegal in Boston.

    1 Reply
    1. re: heathermb

      i think BYOB might be legal in restaurants who don't have a liquor license. Check out this Yelp List:

    2. I understand that Tremont 647 charges $15 per bottle.

      1. The opentable information about Oishii says 'Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies)'.

        1. BYO is illegal in Boston in restaurants that do not have a liquor license and I hope no one here would endanger those rebel restos that let us discretely indulge.

          Corkage is something else all together, would you please clarify what you mean by BYOB?

          1. BYOB is definitely against the law in restaurants without a liquor license.

            Those with a license will charge you quite a bit for the privilege.

            8 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              Is it illegal in Boston proper, or in all of Massachusetts? I had dinner in a place in Belmont last night that was BYOB w/no liquor license.

              1. re: kimfair1

                It's illegal in the City and some other towns.

                1. re: kimfair1

                  That's the thing - it's regulated city by city and town by town, but many people forget that Coolidge Corner, Harvard Square, Davis Square, and the South End are in four different municipalities with four different governments.

                  So - to be clear: BYOB is illegal in Boston. Other communities may vary.

                  1. re: kimfair1

                    Here are some threads (and threads within threads) about the Mass and Boston BYOB situation:


                    Not that they'll shed a whole lot more light on it...

                    1. re: kimfair1

                      in the city of boston, whether or not a place has a license, it is illegal to bring your own anything. (that includes booze AND birthday cake, ok?) however, each town and city has its own laws.

                      restaurants in boston, with a license, that allow you to bring your own and charge a corkage fee are technically breaking the law, although it often is treated as a courtesy. restaurants without a license are badly breaking the law, because they would remain liable if a patron got drunk all on their own.

                      these threads pop up repeatedly. i wish more peeps used the search option rather than jeapordizing local businesses.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        I agree. But I think the threads pop up repeatedly because the city of Boston is relatively small, and as Allstonian says, there are lots of municipalities that merge seamlessly geographically but have different BYOB laws.

                        It seems to be a state law that a place *with* a liquor license can't do BYOB. That applies in all towns. A place without a liquor license, that's up to the municipality (and not allowed in Boston).


                        The safest bet is to ask discreetly at the restaurant, in any event.

                        1. re: erwocky

                          I think you've nailed it, erworky. To me, the BYOB laws (and enforcement) literally don't make sense. I don't mean the situation is stupid (although I suppose I think that too); I mean it's downright confusing.

                          As far as I can tell, the situation is MA is thus:

                          1) There's a state law saying if a place *does* have a liquor license, they can't be BYOB, but otherwise the state law defers to municipal law.

                          2) There are varying BYOB laws in each municipality that are difficult to keep track of.

                          3) There is currently a weird, tenuous equilibrium where it seems like the police aren't particularly eager to enforce these laws, so a lot of under-the-table BYOB is (nervously) happening.

                          4) The vast majority of people here, police, restaurateurs, and diners alike, would like to see a change to the laws, but don't want to call attention to the current situation and upset the equilibrium at the risk of making things worse.

                          1. re: finlero

                            and (5) there are some neighborhood associations that are militantly pro-enforcement (isn't this still true in Allston-Brighton?) so small places that might be inclined to tolerate a discreet 6-pack are too scared.